I have been a loyal Facebook user since it launched. You know, back in the days when you had to have an email address associated to a college or university to login. Back before Newsfeeds and selfies and hashtags and social media as we know it today.
The purpose of this post is not to bash social media or Facebook in particular. It is simply to explain the revelation I had and why I’m happier not using Facebook as much anymore.
I did a social media blackout experiment about a year and a half ago. That was mostly about wanting to back off my constant need to check my phone and my social media accounts. I wanted to be more present in my day to day life, so I gave up social media for a month. What I learned from that experiment is that I didn’t really miss social media once I got used to not using it, though I still couldn’t bring myself to pull the plug completely.
More recently, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and soul-searching about life, what’s truly important, and what I can be doing to better myself and my surroundings. This is in part due to The Happiness Project, a book I’m reading by Gretchen Rubin, who did a year-long happiness project to see if she could make herself happier. After some evaluation, I realized one of the small changes I can make quickly and easily is to start censoring social media. When I really sat down and thought about it, I probably got more negative feelings from Facebook than positive. I like seeing updates from family members, pictures of friends’ kids, or funny anecdotes from friends’ lives… but there is a lot of other stuff people post that bring me down. Finger pointing, complaining, religion, politics, mom-shaming, memes stereotyping entire groups… I could go on and on about the stuff that I was allowing into my life that only brought me negative feelings. So why was I allowing it? Because I was afraid of missing something important? If there’s really something that important, I will find out another way.
Okay, so I really only deleted the app from my phone. I still have an account- so I can post pics of L for family members and friends who live far away and still need their L fix (though I post to my Instagram account and it posts to Facebook for me). Also, it comes in handy for planning events and keeping in touch with groups of people (local police wives, women in my community who are a great source for business recommendations, etc). I probably login via desktop every other day to check my notifications and do a run through the first 3-5 stories in my news feed, but that’s it. And guess what? I feel so free and unburdened of people’s negativity.
I also got rid of my Twitter account, which I hadn’t used in months anyway. I kept Pinterest (because, duh) and Instagram, but on Instagram I stopped following a few accounts and started following some accounts that post positive quotes and pretty sunrise and sunset pictures.
I am making a conscious choice to remove the negative and surround myself with positive. The social media is a very small step in that direction, but it’s one that has definitely made a difference.